Mead Lover's Digest #0685 Sat 11 July 1998


Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor



Re: tasting notes on cyser (Vincent Nylin)
currants ()
Re: Yeast Activity ("Marc Shapiro")
Midnight Bee Honey (Jeffrey Rose)
black currant mead ()
fermentation problem ("Alex Curtis@KWESSF")
Bottling advice requested ("Andrew M. Hartig")
Currant (and other) comments ("David Johnson")
Black Currant Mead experience (meadman)


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Subject: Re: tasting notes on cyser
From: (Vincent Nylin)
Date: Sun, 05 Jul 1998 15:56:48 GMT

On 5 Jul 98 08:57:39 MDT (Sun), (Neal Dunsieth)

>I can't quite figure it,
>but problems like this with some of my other strong meads (regarding taste)
>have aged out at about the 4 year mark. (Yes, I'm drinking 4 year old
>mead!) I have the mead sitting in the cool basement of my new house now,
>and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Any advice? Thanks in advance.

I'm drinking a 6 year old raspberry mead that was nasty when bottled
and I almost dumped it. Fortunately we moved and I stuck it in a cool
spot and forgot about it. I found it a couple of years ago and tasted
one, it was better. Now, it is the best thing I have ever tasted. I
would bottle it when it's fermented out and wait. There's really
nothing to lose but storage space. My 2 cents.

Vince (#2)

Vince Nylin, ICQ 2088209
"I might not be great yet, but damned if I'm not enthusiastic!"

Subject: currants
From: <>
Date: Sun, 5 Jul 1998 12:42:54 EDT

In a message dated 7/5/98 11:34:24 AM Eastern Daylight Time, mead- writes:

<< If you're looking for plant varieties, we (Diane/I, and friends) have found
Red Lake currants to be generally available (most good nurseries), hardy,
productive in a couple years, and producing heavy crops in any decent
year. Our experience with blackcurrants is more limited, so I'll leave
comment on those for the next millennium. >>

A word of advice regarding the planting of currant bushes….check with your
local agricultural extention office for information about the legality of
planting currants in your area before ordering them. The currant bush, along
with gooseberries are an intermediate host for pine tree rust, IIRC. This is
an insidious desease of forest trees and because of the possibility of
epidemics many states prohibit the growing of currants or restrict their
cultivation to specific areas.

A'aql (prrnounced 'Ras')

Subject: Re: Yeast Activity
From: "Marc Shapiro" <>
Date: Sun, 5 Jul 1998 12:43:01 +0000

Phillip J. Welling wrote:

> Starting SG: 1.082
> Temp has been 74 – 76 F
> It has been in the carboy almost 2 weeks and the yeast activity has
> dropped about 1/10th from the start.
> My questions are:
> Is this drastic a change in the yeast activity normal?

Yes. With a starting gravity of 1.082, if the initial fermentation
was steady and strong then you probably have very little fermentables
left after two weeks. Take a hydrometer reading and you will see
that this is probably the case. If so, now is the time to add the
additional honey and maple syrup. I would suggest adding only half a
pound of each, however. When that ferments down (as the initial
fermentables have) then, if you want additional alcohol (or potential
residual sweetness) you can add the remaining honey and syrup. If
you add too much all at once you run the risk of having the yeast
give out on you while you still have a *very* sweet mead.


Marc Shapiro

Visit 'The Meadery' at:

"If you drink melomel every day, you will live to be 150 years old,
unless your wife shoots you."

  • –Dr. Ferenc Androczi, Winemaker of the Little Hungary Winery

Subject: Midnight Bee Honey
From: Jeffrey Rose <>
Date: 06 Jul 98 10:36:03 -0400

Has anyone ever ordered honey from Midnight Bee apiaries in Wells Maine
(they also have a website)? Stay away. The proprietor is a smug
whack-job. The guy became obnoxious and insulting when I balked at the idea
of an immediate cash and carry sale off a highway exit ramp. Nice way to
treat potential customers. Do yourself a favor and boycott this place.


Subject: black currant mead
From: <>
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 12:56:17 EDT

I would like to make a balck current mead. Unfortunately, all that is
available is dried black currants. Does anyone have a recipe and does anyone
know how much of dried black currants to substitute for the fresh or frozen??
Any preparation instructions for use with dried berries of this type would be
most appreciated.
Any sources for mail order of frozen black currants woudl also be helpful.

Subject: fermentation problem
From: "Alex Curtis@KWESSF" <>
Date: Mon, 06 Jul 1998 11:57 -0600

Hey everyone,

I am new to this list and am glad that something like this is out
there….sure makes me want to break into the mead cellar!!!!

Anyways, I have a question/problem. Last week I brewed up a cyser
and added what I thought was the right amount of yeast (and yeast n.)
Well nothing happened after a few days so I added some more yeast and
yeast nutrient. So far nothing is happening.

I am using a kind of yeast that I have not used before called
Vierka wine yeast (made in germany). The instructions on the packet
call for a starter bottle, which i did not do. Usually I add the
yeast right to the carboy.

My question is should I use the starter bottle technique?
Should I just add more yeast in hopes of fermentation happening?
Or should I try another yeast?
Also, does yeast nutrient get old and unusable?

I appreciate any feedback on this…i am still relatively new to
brewing mead and am feeling frustrated about this.

take care

Subject: Bottling advice requested
From: "Andrew M. Hartig" <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jul 1998 10:12:08 -0700 (PDT)

I am preparing to bottle my first mead (citrus) within the next month or
two. Although it is some time away, I have begun to think about different
ways of bottling.

I currently have some beer bottles and some larger 750 ml bottles
(Martinelli sparkling cider type), both of which take crown caps. Since I
have both crown caps and a capper, this seemed like the obvious way to go.

But what about other alternatives? What do others of you out there use?
Would wine bottles with corks be better for long-term storage? And if so,
where does one obtain new corks and how are they put into the bottle (i.e.
does one need a bottle-corker — the wine equivalent of a bottle capper)?
[As there are no wine supply shops near me I am somewhat ignorant in this
matter.] Or will properly-sealed crown-capped bottles work just as well?

  • -A:

Subject: Currant (and other) comments
From: "David Johnson" <>
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 1998 22:58:12 -0500


I realize that there is non-mead related info in this post but I feel it

relates to the currant thread. When this city boy moved to the country a
few years back, it gave me the chance to grow things I never had thought of
trying before. Among these were currants. I have red, white, and black
varieties. The bushes are still small, so I haven't had enough to do much
experimenting. My first trial in any kind of fermentation was a black
currant stout. It did not turn out well.Quite sour in fact. I am not sure
if I picked them at the right time to be perfectly honest. If anyone has
any advice on when to pick them, I would be glad to hear it. There is also
the possibility that I had an infected batch. I also have come to the
conclusion that they benefit from some cooking. I made a wine from them
this year. I cooked 2lbs black and 1/2 lb white currants in minimal water.
2.5 lbs pie cherries 1.5lb cherry juice, 3.5 lbs sugar, and 1 gal of apple
juice. this made up to about 2 gals. OG 1.120 added 2 campden tabs. the
next day pitched the yeast. I had good fermentation and the final SG was
1.005. It tastes pretty good and is presently aging. I also feel that the
whit currants have the best flavor.

My next question will be, has anyone used american persimmons in mead (o

anything else for that matter). Mine set fruit for the first time this


Subject: Black Currant Mead experience
From: meadman <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 98 13:55:17 -0400

My experience making two or three batches of this has been to use 1.5 – 2
#'s of dried berries per gallon. You can get them in 30 # boxes from
health food stores and then break up the tightly packed cube into
handfuls to feed into your fermenter.

I'd recommend using a largemouth fermenter to make it easier to clean at
a later date. My bride has been experimenting with using the finished
settled out berries after fermentation /racking to tertiary fermentation
in cookies. Not bad but still needs work

10 lbs of berries in a 5 gallon carboy is a lot so I suggest 8 #'s into 4
gallons of post primary fermented mead. When there is lots of alcohol in
the mead it extracts a lovely hue from the berries and a wonderful syrupy
thick mouthfeel .

Don't waste $75 for a 30 # box by putting them in primary and gassing off
the aroma of black currant. Add them to the secondary and rack from
primary onto the fruit. With 11+ % alcohol mead there was no issues with
sanitation using the fruit since it is dehydrated and pseudo vacuum
sterile packed.

The real question is what to do with the other 20+ lbs of fruit. Split it
with friends or make another larger batch in one of those 15 gallon

Don't filter out the mouthfeel either , just let it settle for a couple
of months after racking off the fruit stage (let it sit on fruit for 60
days to insure optimum extraction of flavor and aroma). That's all I

End of Mead Lover's Digest #685